November is a month where many of us count our blessings. I am thankful for my family, my community, my health and each breath. Most of us have a plethora of blessings to count, and some even post a daily offering of gratitude on social media during November.
The holiday season is full of opportunities to spend quality time with our loved ones, cook and enjoy delicious meals, and reflect on what truly matters. Having an attitude of gratitude for each breathe reminds us to make the most of our time here on earth. Expressing that gratitude and sharing it within our community through Seva (selfless service) can be the most rewarding gift of all.
Our dream team at Breathe OC has so much to be grateful for, and we love sharing that gratitude with our community. With so many avenues available to serve, we decided to volunteer our time to help feed the homeless. Last year there was an estimated 12,700 homeless people in Orange County alone, not counting people who are living in cars, motels or couch surfing. Many of our homeless are suffering from severe mental illness, and other circumstances which lead to their displacement. It is not our place to judge or assume but rather our privilege to provide a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need. One earth, one human race, one community, one love.
Someone Cares Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization founded by Merle Hatleberg in 1986. Their mission is “to feed a daily nutritional meal to the homeless, the unemployed, the working poor, the mentally challenged, the physically challenged, the senior citizens and most important of all – the children.” The Soup Kitchen serves over 300 guests per day, 7 days a week. Service is Monday through Friday from 12-3:00pm, and breakfast is provided every Saturday and Sunday, from 9-11:00 a.m.
We arrived at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and Tutoring Program in Costa Mesa bright and early, ready to serve and excited to share. The beautiful weekend manager Kim was holding a group meeting with the weekend volunteers. She assigns, directs, imparts feedback from previous shifts, and offers the inspiring words with tear filled eyes: “This is OUR community!” We disperse to get the kitchen ready, we have an hour and a half to prepare before the doors open for service. Cleaning tables, spooning out butter, washing dishes, folding utensil wrap ups… everyone hustling to make the most of the time.
I talk to a 22 year old Cal State Fullerton student named Sky Pham who has been volunteering every weekend for the past 4 years. He has a smile on his face and happily directs us is in the kitchen. The time has come and the doors open. People lined up outside begin coming in, grateful and hungry looks on their faces. I can’t help but feel so grateful to be a part of this morning. This day is a reminder of how one person can make an impact to help our community.
There are so many ways to be of service to our community. It not only helps remind us to be grateful for all that we have, but directly impacts our earthly relatives who are in need. In the words of Yogi Bhajan: “You are here to serve, here to lift, here to grace, here to give hope and action, to give the very deep love of your soul to all those who are in need.” May this holiday season bring out the deep love of your soul. May we all be someone who cares.
Visit http://www.someonecareskitchen.org/ for volunteer opportunities.